Giving it Away

Xander followed Spike trying hard to ignore the way his unbuttoned jeans kept threatening to head south. If Spike wanted them buttoned, Spike would have done it, so Xander just focused on walking very, very carefully. Of course, even if they fell, the worst case scenario would be that he flashed some random minion or Dalton, and they had all seen him naked more times than he could count. Funny, in high school being naked in front of people had been the stuff of nightmares, in one case the stuff of nightmares come to life, which had been high on the horrifying scale, but Xander couldn't quite figure out why anymore. Sometimes it worried him that the him from back then wouldn't know the him from now.

"Right then, this is what I need you ta look at," Spike said as he unlocked a door near the human end of the sprawling warehouse. Xander often went out with Spike hunting or dancing or playing pool at the Bronze, but the majority of the time, Xander only saw the two rooms in the warehouse: the main hall and the bedroom he shared with Spike. So getting to see other parts of the lair was a bit of an outing. However, the excitement vanished as soon as he stepped into the room.

The stench nearly knocked him over, and he did take a step back away from the body odor and urine and whatever other general yuckiness was drifting off the shivering body in the middle of the narrow bed.

"Master?" Xander asked as he tried really hard not to throw up. He'd seen addicts. Plenty came to the court begging to be turned or for a bed in Spike's stables or even for money in return for sex or blood. Sometimes Spike laughingly had some minion toss them back outside. If they annoyed him enough, he'd give them to the minions, and Xander tried really hard to not think about what happened to the humans who went there.

Only once had Xander seen Spike take someone in. She'd been a tall woman with dark skin, and she had trembled with need as Spike circled her. He'd ordered Dalton to take her to the stable, and that had been the last Xander had seen her. But this huddled mess on the bed… Xander was surprised Spike hadn't just broken his neck and put him out of his pain. Okay, so Spike might not be a big proponent of mercy killings, or at least not the mercy part of mercy killing, but the stink and the pathetic whine should have driven him right over the edge into homicidal already.

"Um, Master?"

"Can't hardly stand the stink of him. You think you can get him cleaned up and help through the worst of the withdrawal? Don't rightly trust a minion to not kill 'im at this point." Spike pulled out a cigarette and lighted it. Xander was about ready to ask for a cigarette himself just so he had something between him and the stink from the bed.

"Why is he here?"

"Don't ya recognize him?"

Xander stared at the miserable, dirty, emaciated lump curled in the middle of the bed. "That would be a big no. I'd remember knowing someone who looked like an Ethiopian refugee."

Spike snorted. "He didn't look much like that last time ya saw him."

"So this would be someone from the grand old Sunnydale High days?" Xander asked as he stared at the man on the bed. His eyes were closed, and his face was so covered in dirt and a long scabby sore on one cheek that Xander couldn't even get a sense of general features. The man had wide shoulders, so he might have guessed Larry, only Larry was definitely dead and this guy was only mostly dead.

"Um, Spike," Xander said as he chewed his bottom lip.

"Pet?" Spike dropped the cigarette, and a strong hand went around the back of Xander's neck, pulling him close. Even after all the time they'd spent together, it still sometimes freaked Xander out that one sign of distress from him and Spike immediately reacted. He just wished Willow could see the Spike he knew… the vamp who was every bit a demon, but a demon who cared about things without reservation. Spike had a small, worried frown on his face and Xander leaned in and planted a kiss on Spike's lips.

"Ya alright?" Spike asked, the concern still evident.

"I love you."

"Oi, strange git. I ask ya to look after a useless lump of addicted flesh, and that gets me an endearment? Did you hit your head when we took on them rwasundi demons?" Spike's fingers ran across Xander's skull, and while the vamp was probably just checking for bumps, Xander couldn't avoid groaning as his cock hardened in its cage.

"I didn't hit my head. I hit them without getting hit on the head, which woo hoo for me," Xander pointed out. "And the endearment is for you worrying about me, but I have a question, and this is one of those human things that has great potential to really screw with my head, Spike."

"Must be worried if you're callin' me by my name, pet."

"Kinda." Xander glanced over at the shivering man and took a deep breath. "You know how we talked about you being a vamp and some things just don't make sense to me, and I just have to put it under the 'demons-weird' column in my brain?"

Spike raised an eyebrow.

"Okay, so here's the thing. Even if I don't know this guy, or even if I do know him and I don't like him because he's one of the swim team members who shoved me around in the steam room, even if he's John Lee the asshole of 3rd period chemistry, I can't put him back together just to watch you take him apart, so please don't ask me to be all helpful with him so you can torture him longer or something." Xander stared at Spike, trying to make his vampire understand just how important this was to him.

"Still the white knight wantin' to save the world," Spike sighed and shook his head, but that indulgent smile suggested that Spike found it more amusing than annoying, which was comforting. "I'm not plannin' on torturing the sod. Torture's for things that ya need to bring down to size, and that lump's about as low as he can get already. He couldn't scare Clem's mum at this point."

"And killing? I'm voting no on the patching someone up only to kill him. Not that this is a democracy, but if you kill him after I patch him up and get all talky with him, there will be mental weirdness, Master. It's part of the 'human-weird' column," Xander warned, perfectly aware that Spike could still order him to do it.

When Spike's hand fell away from his neck, Xander fidgeted some, and his jeans slipped a half inch. "Can't promise I won't kill 'im. Don't really know right now. If he cleans up and has a respectful tongue in his mouth, would rather keep him for the stables. After the last apocalypse, I vamped two of 'em and the rest are mopin' around a bit."

"Okay, that's not with the making me feel better. People chained up in terror waiting for you to vamp them… not with the making me feel better at all," Xander almost wailed.

"Bloody hell, pet. They're not waitin' in terror. It's more like they're mopin' cause I didn't pick them and they don't have enough left to get up a good game of poker. If I want the taste of terror in the blood, I hunt on the streets. The whole point of a stable is to get that randy, contented flavor in the blood, not that I visit them all that often with you waiting in my bed." Spike leered at Xander, and Xander groaned as his cock hardened. Think of something else… think of something else… think of Giles' last phone call… think of Clem… Clem was good for killing the lust. Nice enough demon, but not really with the attractiveness. Ooo. Think of Clem's mom. That woman had flaps on her flaps and wrinkles on her wrinkles and she was definitely in the lust-killing category.

"So, I get him cleaned up and you'll at least give him a chance, right?" Xander checked .

"Yeah, pet. I'll give 'im a chance. Amuses me havin' him around, it does. This room has its own bathroom through there, and feel free to kick his ass if he gives you any trouble, pet." Spike nodded toward a door on the far side of the room and was already backing toward the hallway.

"Okay, first order of business is the BO," Xander said resolutely as he considered the miserable man in the bed. The man wasn't coming to the bathtub, so the bathwater had to come to the man. The door clicked, and Xander found himself alone with the stranger and his body odor.

"Geez, big bad vamp afraid of a little smell," Xander said as he hitched his jeans up and fastened the button. He sniffed again. "Okay, afraid of a lot of smell. A whole lot. Geez. Dead things smell better than you, buddy." Xander just hoped there were washcloths and a bucket in the bathroom.

Three days of washing the man down, holding his hand through violent periods of shaking, and changing his sheets after he pissed himself, and Xander finally recognized him. Riley.

"Just a little," Riley begged softly, his voice a whisper as his hands clawed at Xander's jeans. Xander had no idea what Riley was begging for, but it was some seriously bad shit because Riley's eyes were near black and unseeing as he thrashed in his bed.

A week and a visit from Spike's pet doctor to pull a rotted tooth, and Xander got Riley to eat something solid. It took him a while to learn the rules for the care and feeding of an ex-soldier. Cheese sandwiches stayed down. Ham came up in spectacular bursts of projectile vomiting.

Two weeks and Riley finally started blinking at him owlishly.

"Xander?" Riley finally asked one day as Xander came in with lunch. It was nearly three weeks after Riley had first shown up and as Xander watched, his eyes focused for a second before that fast blinking returned and the man stared vaguely at the dingy sheets. Xander hadn't bothered changing them in a week or so since Riley hadn't actually pissed on them again.

"Yeah, it's me. Hey, you sound almost alive there. Are you feeling better?"

"Better?" Riley snorted and then flinched back so fast that the chain around his ankle rattled.

"Okay, I'm going to assume that's a no, but Ri, the lack of bodily fluids on the outside your body is a good sign that you're getting better." Xander kept talking as he set the tray he'd brought on the small table. "I was starting to think you had managed to fry your last brain cell. Whatever you were taking… if I'm ever dying and in incredible pain and that's the last bottle of pills in the medicine cabinet… I still don't want it."

"Rapture," Riley hoarsely whispered.

"Rapture as in fundies speaking in tongue and flopping on the ground rapture?" Xander had watched some documentary on religious rapture at four in the morning on some weirdo station when waiting for Spike to get back from killing some evil sucking magical thing one night.

"Rapture as in the drug vampires give to humans before biting them to get a high," Riley said with a frown. "One of the drugs they do that with anyway."

"Okay. That's weird. Spike is always, 'I did that at Woodstock and nearly walked into the sun while watching my hand change colors' about drugs. Not as catchy as 'Just say no,' but around here, way more effective. He staked a minion for buying some girl heroin before draining her. So, are there actually vamps out there dumb enough to drug people on purpose?" Xander held out a cheese and tomato sandwich with a side order of fries.

"Vamps in general are pretty stupid." Riley took the plate and ate a fry as he settled crosslegged in the middle of his narrow bed. Xander perched on the foot of the bed and tried to give Riley some space, but with no other furniture in the room other than the bed and side table, he could either sit on the bed with Riley or hover over him.

"Riley, I don't know how hard you got hit in the head or hit by the drugs or just hit, but you do know you're in the middle of vamp central, right? Calling vamps dumb… not really the way to prove your own lack of dumbness when you're chained to a bed in a vamp house."

"It's not like it'll make a difference," Riley shrugged as he took a bite of sandwich. "Hostile 17's your master, right?"

"Spike," Xander agreed uneasily. Riley ate another fry and nodded.

"Buffy hated losing you to that asshole. Blamed herself." Riley's words sounded so calm and logical, but the sharp edge of the truth cut Xander. Buffy was gone, and no matter how much he wanted her to understand, she never would. Just like Willow never would. His best friends had made him pick between the man he loved and them, and no matter how much he wanted that pain to go away, it never would.

"How'd she feel when she lost you to a vamp who got you drugged up?" Xander demanded in return. Riley froze, a French fry half way to his mouth. He hesitated a second before shoving the fry in his mouth. His face had been full of disgust, either for Xander or himself or Spike… who knew. However, now he wore a mask of indifference.

"She never knew. I just left."

"With a vampire," Xander pointed out.

"After a fight. As far as she knew, I just walked."

Xander chuckled and shook his head. "Riley, I knew Buffy a long time. If you walked, she went out and killed a whole bunch of vamps, bought huge amounts of ice cream, and had Willow do a tracing spell on you, not necessarily in that order. She knew what you did… what you chose--"

"I never chose!" Riley shouted, moving so fast that the plate fell off his lap and the food tumbled all over the bed. "I never chose this. I never chose to be a fucking meal for a vamp." Riley's hands were fists, and Xander slid off the bed, taking a step back so he had room to defend himself if he needed to. Riley was still stick-thin and already his arms were trembling from the effort of just making a fist, but the man looked angry enough to try something stupid.

"Fine. You tell yourself that. I'm out of here." Xander headed for the door.

"No, wait." Riley sat up, his shoulders drooping as the anger vanished. "Where is she?"


Riley nodded, looking as miserable as a person could.

"You don't know?" Xander's heart got caught in his throat as he thought about having to tell Riley.

This time Riley shook his head before answering weakly. "I was in L.A."

With a sigh, Xander took a step closer to the bed and struggled with the right words to say. He hated that she was gone, that he never got to show her that he was happy, that she never got to have a real life. He knew that Spike didn't understand how he could love both a vampire and the slayer, but Xander had.

"She died. There was a prophesy and a hellgod and an apocalypse… she saved the world," Xander finished softly. Riley gave a half sob and then just breathed fast, his face indifferent but his hands clutching the covers.

Xander waited for Riley to say something, but he turned his back on Xander so that Xander had a choice between begging the man to talk or just walking out. Xander walked.

For a week, Spike sent a minion with the food trays, not even asking why Xander was avoiding the room. But guilt and a morbid curiosity drove Xander back to the room. He stood in the doorway and watched as Riley sat, his knees pulled up to his chest as he fingered the rough scars on the inside of his elbow. The marks were a combination of fading tracks that followed the vein up the arm and circular bite marks overlapping dozens if not hundreds of time. Riley's fingers moved slowly over the pale marks.

"Is it just the bite or do you want the sex, too?" Xander asked from the door.

For a second, Riley just glared, his fingers pressing against the scars. "I'm not gay. I don't care what perversion you and your master get up to, but I do not want to have sex with vamps, and I'm sure not going to roll over for a male vamp." Riley's voice was cold and vicious, but he still stared at nothing in a way that didn't exactly make him look altogether sane.

"So being the drug of the day is okay, being a lover is out. Got it," Xander agreed in a tone of voice that made his opinion on that logic clear.

"Just go away."

"You said you didn't have a choice."

"What?" Riley looked up at Xander in confusion.

"A week ago, about vamps, about the drugs. You said you didn't have a choice."

"I didn't."

"What happened?"

"Just go away, Xander."

"I'd think you'd want to talk what with the overwhelming nothingness in here."

"I've gotten used to it," Riley shrugged as he leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes.

"Other vamps, is this how they keep people? Did your last master—"

"I never had a master. I never gave myself to someone like a whore," Riley cut him off with a cold, emotionless voice. A little part of Xander flinched away from that word, but the fact was that Xander knew that he and Spike weren't like that. He wasn't Spike's whore, and Riley saying it didn't make it true.

"What did you have, then?" Xander took another step into the room.

"I had a captor," Riley offered curtly.

"They captured you? Um, Riley, I don't know how to say this, but you're full of shit. There are way too many humans volunteering for the job to go out and grab random people off the street, and as much as I find that way with the creepy, it's true."

"Maybe they don't have a choice about volunteering," Riley said with that same distant, cold tone.

"Choiceless. Check. So, you volunteered for a suck house, but you didn't have a choice," Xander guessed.

"Not after Dracula, I didn't." Riley dropped his head into his hands.

"The one who tried to do the whole fancy vamping thrall thing with Buffy?" Xander asked. "I mean, Dawn told me that story, but your name was not with the coming up."

"Dawn? Dawn's okay?" Riley asked as he looked up with an expression that came close to hope.

"Yeah. Dawn is in huge trouble right now because she's failing biology and grounded until she's twenty one or the world ends, so as far as she's concerned, we're all out to get her, but short of the normal drama, she's fine."

Riley didn't react as he sat there, staring at the bed, and Xander considered just leaving. It was funny, but being around Riley was like picking a scab. He wondered if Buffy blamed herself for both of them ending up with vampires. Okay, so he knew Buffy blamed herself, but he wondered how deep that guilt went. He had tried to convince her that he was happy, but how much of Riley's life had she seen? What happened that Buffy didn't get him back, chain him in the basement, and make him get clean? That would have been more like the Buffy he remembered.

"So, Dracula?" Xander tried again. He could see Riley's fists tighten again. "I'm guessing the thrall thing."

Riley nodded.

"Thrall and bite?" Xander guessed. Riley didn't react.

"Thrall and no bite, and you went looking for the bite."

Riley looked up with so much hate that Xander could feel the heat of it from across the room.

"Going out looking for the bite seems kinda choicelike to me," Xander pointed out. Riley lay down and turned so Xander could see his back. The sores that had covered him when he'd arrived had faded to traces of scars littering his skin.

"And I guess you just want to stare blankly at the wall and not sleep now, which is still a choice. Riley, your issues have issues," Xander pointed out before he left. If Riley didn't want to talk to him, he had way more interesting things to do than stare at Riley's back. He was doing a large carving of Dru, her eyes staring up at the sky, and he wanted to finish before she came twirling into town again. She'd been so mesmerized with his carving of Buffy that he really wanted to see her reaction when she realized he'd carved her. He had no more than closed the door when a voice startled him.

"Seems like soldier boy's not doing so well," Spike commented. Xander spun to find Spike leaning against the wall, but he moved so fast that the jeans slithered over his hips, down his legs, and puddled around Xander's ankles.

"Way to give a human a heart attack, Master," Xander sighed as he looked down in resignation at his fallen jeans.

"Seems like ya have a problem there, mate."

"Seems like. The vamp who dresses me funny has this thing about not buttoning my jeans," Xander pointed out.

"I like your face when they finally fall," Spike said as he came close and slipped an arm around Xander's waist, pulling him tight against Spike's body, their stomachs pressed together, and Xander groaned at the thought of how good it would feel if he wasn't wearing the cock cage, if he could rub against Spike.

"You like the look of shock and horror as I flash random people?" Xander asked, even if he didn't feel shock or horror, and random people would get eaten way before they got this deep into the lair.

"The way ya stare at them without even tryin' to pull 'em back up. I like that ya follow my rules," Spike whispered as he licked the spot just below Xander's ear and then let his lips rest against the skin. Xander hummed and tilted his head to the side and Spike's hands roamed over him, stroking his back, tangling in his tail hair, teasing the skin just above the caged cock until Xander helplessly squirmed.

"Control freak," Xander whispered affectionately as he humped helpless into Spike's body. Spike just chuckled.

"Too bloody right."

Xander grabbed Spike's shoulders and gasped as strong fingers found the base of the plug hidden under Xander's tail and pressed. "Aw, shit," Xander hissed. "If I break, you'll be sorry," he warned as lust made his cock strain against the clear plastic cage that kept him from getting hard.

"Ya aren't that fragile, pet. Like seein' ya squirmin' and obedient. Who knows. If you're a good boy, might even let you come tonight."

Xander cracked open one eye and considered Spike. "Okay, you let me come two days ago, so an offer for more coming makes me worry that either you're about to be in a very good mood or you're afraid I'm about to be in a very bad one. What's up, not-so-subtle Master of mine?"

"When did you get so suspicious?"

"Um, about the time I found out vamps were real?" Xander guessed.

"Git." Spike took a step back and pulled out a cigarette, and Xander started getting the feeling that something big really was up. He waited, stepping out of his jeans as he crossed his arms. Finally, Spike sighed. "Time for soldier-boy to make his decision. One way or the other, this is his choice, and I don't want you gettin' in the middle."

"Would this be the middle of the death and bloodletting?" Xander asked unhappily.

"Might be. I'm hopin' that he'll listen to reason. His body's strong and more than that, he was Buffy's. Feels right since I took her territory and her clan that I take her… whatever the fuck he was. Sure wasn't a boyfriend by the end seein' as how he ducked out and let her go up against Glorificus alone. But whatever he was, he was hers."

"Which means he's yours now," Xander nodded knowingly. It made sense if you tilted your head to the side and squinted, which was true of most demonic logic, which is why he just kept a column in his brain labeled 'demon weird'.

"So, I guess I'll head back to the bedroom," Xander said as he took a step backwards toward his bedroom.

"No. Want you in there speakin' the truth if the moron has enough brain cells left to listen. You remember the day you found out I had gotten the chip out?" Spike asked in a quick change of topic that left Xander feeling a little lost.

"Um, yeah."

"Remember how I had you over my lap? How you asked to call Angel? Bloody hell, pet, I knew I wanted to keep you the minute you picked the great sod. Warn your friends and torture the vamp you hate all with one call. Always knew you had a sadistic side, but seeing you take it out on Peaches by making him listen all helpless-like? That was soddin' poetic."


"Right then, Finn's in the hot seat now, pet. He either faces himself or I go looking for another couple of humans for the stables." Before Xander could even come up with an answer, Spike pushed open the door to Riley's room, leaving Xander to either stand in the hall or follow. Xander had a pretty good idea about the odds of Riley ever admitting that he'd made his own choices. Hell, Xander had a hard time admitting that, and he'd been doing the dirty deed with a chipped vamp, which was about as choiceful as it got. He totally had choices. And Riley did too, but with the vamps being stronger and demonic, the denial was just so easy.

Standing outside the door, Xander shifted his weight, feeling his tail brush against the backs of his legs as he tried to convince himself to just walk away.

"Buff, you owe me for this one," he sighed as he looked up toward the ceiling. The ceiling didn't answer, so Xander slid into Riley's room and stood as close to the door as he could while still being fully in the room.

Spike was leaning against the wall, a lazy trail of smoke from his cigarette wandering toward the ceiling, and Riley was just sitting, his arms still around his bent knees. The only difference between now and when Xander had walked in the first time was that he wasn't fingering his scars. He was unnaturally still.

"Right then, got better things ta do tonight that watch you sulk. So, you got anything to say to me that might keep you alive?"

Riley tilted his head and studied Spike silently. Then he shrugged. "You might as well start the torture now."

"Torture?" Spike snorted in disbelief, and that got a frown out of Riley. "You aren't worth the time to torture, mate. Mind you, right after I got the chip out, if you'd been around, I would have tortured you. Might've gotten you addicted to the bite, and then turned you out and watched as you got more and more desperate until you whored yourself out and got hooked on some shite that scrambled your brains. But then you went and did that on your own." Spike had his smirk going full blast, and Xander could see Riley almost shaking with either fear or rage, he wasn't sure which one. "I figure taking that shite away from you and making you face up to the way you fucking ballsed up your life was torture enough for me."

"What do you think, pet, should I torture the wanker?" Spike asked before he took a deep drag on his cigarette. Spike watched Riley, but Riley's eyes darted up to stare at Xander.

"What?" Xander yelped. "No! No, I'm voting a big old no on the torture."

Spike held his breath and then slowly released it so the smoke curled around his face. "I suppose I can give you to one of the LA masters," Spike sniffed. "That wanker Donald would fall over himself for a sign of favor. Bloody stupid name for a vamp."

The name didn't mean anything to Xander, but Riley turned a really shocking shade of white. Xander was half-afraid Riley was going to go and have a heart attack right there; however, the ex-soldier just sat and stared at Spike with a completely blank expression.

"No comment on that, then? Maybe you miss the bite. 'Course, that wanker isn't the only one who knows how to bite." Spike vamped, his yellow eyes staring at Riley even as he reached out toward Xander. Sliding closer, Xander ducked his head and yielded when Spike's hand caught him by the back of the neck and slowly pulled him close. A strong thumb caressed his shoulder, stroking the pinprick scars scattered across his skin. Xander shivered, his cock thickening and aching in its cage.

Xander involuntarily shivered, and his tail twitched up, soft curls sliding across the back of his thighs, and his cock made a superhuman attempt to break through the cock cage. When Spike leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on the scarred shoulder, Xander groaned in need and pleasure so intense that it ached. Xander didn't realize his eyes had dropped closed until Riley's gasp made him open his eyes. The ex-soldier, ex-addict watched them with wide, hungry eyes as Spike slid a hand around Xander's waist and pulled their bodies close together. Xander let his head fall back and rest on Spike's shoulder.

"Ya want this, don't ya?" Spike asked, his voice low and sensual, and the tone went right to that deep core of Xander where he felt a need for Spike that was so deep that he sometimes worried it would swallow him. "Ya want what my boy has." Spike stopped talking long enough to brush a sharp fang over Xander's shoulder, and Xander moaned.

"I'm not gay."

"Bloody human morality. Ya spread your legs often enough before, but ya want to play all pure now that you aren't stoned out of your mind, that it?"

"I never!" Riley sounded angry, and the sudden reappearance of the more aggressive, familiar old Riley broke the spell that Spike had woven around Xander. He looked up, and Riley had on a familiar expression of disgust, and this time Xander had no doubt that Riley meant it for him. Suddenly Xander felt naked for the first time in a long time.

Spike growled as he stepped forward, putting himself between Xander and Riley. "You pathetic fucker. I can smell them… I can smell the vamps who've fucked you. I can smell your need for the bite and that fucking drug, but you're going to stand there and deny it until I get tired of your shite and break your fucking neck or give you to some second-rate vamp who'll shove you fulla drugs and drain you. That what you're looking for? You looking to die? You're closer than you know, right now."

"I don't lie to myself. I'm going to die, but I'm not falling for your lines." Riley stood on unsteady legs and raised his chin, looking so defiant and so unsteady on his feet that Xander had to feel just a little sorry for him… sorry enough that he edged toward the door rather than have a front row seat for Riley's death.

"Pet," Spike's voice cut the silence that had followed Riley's words, and Xander froze. "What do you figure Riley's odds are of surviving the next five minutes with this attitude of his?" he asked in a weirdly calm tone of voice.

"Master?" Xander whispered the word.

"Did you have a choice the first time I put you on your knees and made you suck my cock until your eyes watered and you stared up at me through eyelashes wet with tears? Was that your choice, pet?" Spike asked in an almost cheerful voice. Xander remembered that day. He'd woken up with Legos super-glued to his body, and when Spike had sat there watching him squirm in pain, the humiliation had been so close to his fantasies that his cock had gotten all the wrong ideas. It didn't help that it was Spike watching—Spike who had been starring in his fantasies right next to Buffy and Angel and Cordelia ever since Parent Teacher night. Maybe if he hadn't had such physically intimidating people in his life he never would have discovered his little kink, but his life was nothing but people with more power than he had.

Spike tilted his head to look back at Xander. "Pet, was that a choice?"

Slowly, Xander nodded. "Yes, Master. You had the chip, and I could have stopped things, but I didn't want to," he admitted. Riley got a sour expression on his face.

Riley made a disgusted noise. "That's where we're different. I would have stopped it if I could have."

"No, where you're bloody different is that Xander's strong enough to admit the truth. That's why he's still soddin' breathing and saving happy meals and playin' poker for potato chips with Clem and the Bit. You're so busy lying to yourself that you don't even see that I'm giving you one chance to survive. Just one, and I’m not a patient vamp," Spike warned.

Riley laughed, but the sound was brittle and desperate, and the way he crossed his arms looked more like a child trying to protect himself than the angry soldier of just a second ago. He shook his head, and hair that had grown long brushed against his shoulders. "See, that's how I know you're lying. You have no reason for keeping me alive unless you want a human with a high tolerance for Rapture for a snack, and Xander says you're into murdering and feeding off your humans drug-free."

Without even trying to deny being a murderer, Spike shrugged and half turned away from Riley. Reaching out, he pulled Xander to him so suddenly and so hard that Xander kinda yelped in surprise. "You government wankers never did figure out vamps. The master kept his toys around—his bitch whore, his prophesy boy-vamp, his soddin' ugly throne. Angelus and Darla just collected whatever shiny bits crossed their path. Me? I took over this territory from the slayer. Have her minions all safely tucked away and play poker with her sis. Since I'm powerful enough to collect toys, seems right to collect what was important to the slayer. And you? You're the wanker she loved even after ya went and abandoned her."

"I didn't abandon her. I…" Riley stopped and just sagged to the bed. "Just finish it, already."

"Ya don't want to hear about how she called your name? Her blood bubbling out her lips and the two names she gurgled out were Dawn's and yours."

"You're lying." Riley hissed the words, but Xander could tell that Riley didn't believe his own denial.

"Don't have to, mate. First thing she cared about was making sure her sis was safe. After that, she asked for you, only you were long gone by then. Then she went and died before she could ask after anyone else."

Xander looked at Spike suspiciously because as far as he knew, Spike had been so stoned on god's blood after eating Glorificus that he wouldn't have noticed if little green men had sprouted out of Buffy's mouth and started tap dancing. However, Spike's fingers traced the line of his stomach down and teased the tender skin just north of the cock cage, and then Xander really didn't much care if Spike was lying through his teeth. He didn't understand, but he didn't much care because that went in the 'demon weird' column.

Riley was still shaking his head. He was sitting on the edge of the bed with his hands on his knees, and Xander could see them trembling. "You're lying," Riley repeated weakly.

"I'm a murderous demon, and I'll lie without a second thought, but you aren't important enough to rate a lie. Here's the truth you need to hear. You show that same strength Xander had, and I'm going to find you a bed in the stable. Might show you off every now and then, show how one of the last living Initiative soldiers is a good little boy in my stable, and in return, you'll get your bite." Spike moved closer, pulling Xander with him until Spike could reach out and touch Riley's shoulder. "Have a childe of my own now. 'Bout time she takes a pet and proves to the world she'd got the control to be a master in her own right. You impress her, and you'll never feel that empty ache again."

Riley looked up and swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing and the trembling in his hands traveling up his arms until his whole body shook. Spike slid his hand down until he caressed Riley's throat.

"They never bit you on the neck," he said casually as he ran fingers over Riley's neck.

Chewing on his lip, Riley shook his head.

Spike tightened his arm around Xander's waist. "Pet, if ya had to give up orgasms or my bite, which would you give up?" he asked, and for a half second, Xander was caught between panic because those were two things he really didn't want to give up and overwhelming need because the fact that Spike had that much control over him sent his sex drive into overheating mode.

"Um, really hoping to not give up either, Master," Xander said. Spike pulled his hand away from Riley and embraced Xander with both arms, pulling their bodies together so tightly that Xander could feel Spike's erection.

Giving Xander's neck a long, leisurely lick, Spike whispered words against his skin so that the breath made his skin turn to goose pimples and his body throb with need. "Asked you a question, pet. Now answer." Xander could feel Spike's fang score a line across his skin. "Which would you give up?"

"The orgasms, Master," Xander blurted as his whole body tightened in anticipation. Sharp fangs pierced his skin, and the burning draw started, like he was being stretched into a new shape. Squirming, Xander clutched at Spike's arms and writhed as the fire consumed him. He arched his neck and pressed back into the embrace, and the pain in his cock only made it even better. Reaching down, he grabbed at his cock with one hand, almost overwhelmed with a desire to touch himself and push himself that one inch farther where he could fall over into oblivion. But his hand could only scramble over the plastic, helpless. And the building of the pleasure past the point of mere orgasm into a place where nothing existed but the bite and the hands around his body and the cage encasing his cock… it erased every fear, every thought other than pure, unspoiled bliss.

Xander felt his body jerking, but he wasn't really in control of his own limbs as he slumped in Spike's arms. Spike had taken more than usual, and the near-orgasm and the lack of blood left him sated and gasping and probably smiling stupidly. For long seconds, he stood in Spike's embrace, not able to do anything but hold on to his Master's arms and struggle to pull his thoughts back from the void.

Eventually, he blinked and Riley was there staring at him with such desperation that Xander could only stare back.

"You want it," Spike said confidently.

Riley swallowed twice before slowly nodding.

"On your knees. Show respect for your Master, boy," Spike said.

Xander could see Riley struggle, his hands opening and fisting as his body slid an inch closer to the edge of the bed as though his body was trying to kneel without his brain's permission. "Ri," Xander said quietly. "It was my choice. Spike blackmailed me with a videotape that I knew he didn't have. He threatened to go to Giles, when I'm pretty sure that Giles would not exactly be shocked at kinky sex. He was chipped."

Riley looked up at him with a pained gaze that almost begged Xander to do something. Xander knew that if Spike just reached over and physically forced Riley, he'd comply. Instead, Spike just stood with his arms around Xander watching impassively. Xander could almost feel the clock ticking down on Spike's patience and Riley's lifespan.

"You chose to give yourself to those vamps instead of going to Giles or Buffy and telling them about your addiction just like I chose to gag myself and chain myself and suffer back when Spike had the chip and he couldn't hurt me himself."

Riley's eyes were suspiciously bright. "I never chose the drugs. I never chose to leave Buffy." His voice was gravelly.

"You chose to put yourself in that position," Xander pointed out. "You chose to give power to vamps who drugged you, got stoned, and probably went out and killed even more people because they were on a vampire equivalent of an acid trip. Riley, that isn't Spike. He's a killer, but he's not opening Hellmouths or killing random people. If you give him your power, you aren't making the world any worse, and maybe one person or two people or ten people will live because either him or Dalton fed off you instead of off some teenager at the Bronze. Riley, you don't have to die. You just have to make a different choice."

Riley was shaking so hard that Xander was afraid something was physically wrong with him—that he would have a heart attack or something. Xander felt lips at his neck as Spike kissed the two new pinprick wounds in the middle of an already impressive scar. The room was utterly silent as Riley slowly slid off the bed and sank to his knees next to it.

"Good, boy," Spike said as he reached out and rested his hand on Riley's head.

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